Weekend Open Thread

“Innocence does not find near so much protection as guilt.”

–Francois de La Rochefoucauld

47 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    Voter registration in Colorado – good news & bad news:

    Good news – Colorado Secretary of State has a website to check you registration.

    Bad news – It times out (service unavailable).

    Good news – The Boulder Clerk & Recorder is hosting an everything you need to know about the upcoming election.

    Bad news – it's after the deadline to change your party registration.

    I resigned myself years ago to the Boulder Clerk being incompetent (regardless of who holds the position). But I was hoping for reasonable competence from Jena Griswold.

    • MADCO says:

      I have helped dozens of people register or update registration in recent weeks- no such trouble.

      I can't speak to Boulder.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Colorado has same day registration.  The only "deadline" is for having the appropriate ballots mailed to an address.  If someone misses the mail deadline, that voter can go to the voting centers up to and including March 3, register (with state issued ID) and vote.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        I though you couldn't change your party registration after 3 Feb?

        • itlduso says:

          My understanding is that Independents will get both Dem and GOP ballots, but can only vote one of them.

        • Pseudonymous says:

          D or R (now) – what you are as of the 4th determines how you can vote.

          U – can vote in either, or choose to affiliate anytime prior and vote in that primary.

          If you go from D or R to U by the 3rd, I suppose you can then affiliate with a party and vote in their primary, but I think you'd be better off taking your meds at that point.

          If you're unregistered, you can register, pick an affiliation or none, and vote accordingly up through the day of the primary.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            Ok, I'll take back what I said about the Boulder County Clerk as the only part they're late for is changing party affiliation.

            I'm still very disappointed that the Secretary of States office sent out an email with a link to a broken web site. Fix the site, then send the email.


          • MADCO says:

            Colorado 2020 primaries are a bit complex.
            My experience of recent weeks is that almost no one outside party or campaign leadership knows how it works, and not all of them.

            Ballots in couple of weeks – and registered voters will vote and turn them in.
            And then complain.


  2. Denver Yankee says:

    Bill Palmer in a column today "What every liberal needs to understand in order to win", lists his twenty winning lessons.  Lesson #9 seems relevant to some discussions here:
    Lesson #9: A president who only moderately leans to the left, but is effective at governing and making deals, will be able to steer the country significantly to the left. A president who’s far-left, but isn’t effective at governing or making deals, won’t be able to move the country one inch to the left. Every inch of American presidential history proves this to be the case. Go study it.

    • DENependent says:

      This is a reasonable position to take based on history. However, using history as a guide to future action can be like preparing for WWII by studying the tactics of WWI. Or making real estate investment decisions in 2006 based on the history of housing prices in the US.

      It also makes assumptions about the competence of candidates based on their ideology. Do you really think that moderation is correlated with competence or ability to negotiate? It is just as logical and plausible that a far left candidate who is willing to negotiate will be more effective a president because by starting out with more radical positions they have more to negotiate away, all else being equal.

      If the other side is willing to make compromises. Often the compromises have to be made within a party between the most timid members and the most bold. There are few or no honest negotiating partners as a national level in the Republican Party currently.

      Look at the ACA enactment. All the negotiations resulted in zero Republican sign ons despite dropping every sort of liberal proposal in the attempt to get even a few. This despite the whole program being the Republican alternative to Medicare extension or universal health care plans in the 1990s.

      • Denver Yankee says:

        “It also makes assumptions about the competence of candidates based on their ideology.”

        Palmer makes no such assumption.

        What would you use as your basic guide rather than history?

        • DENependent says:

          It seems to me that it makes the assumption. Rather than looking towards the far left I would have stated it thus:

          Lesson #9: A president who is effective at governing and making deals will energize the party. Regardless of being left or moderate, a president who’s bad at either enacting and promoting his or her programs will weaken the party and your political goals no matter how much you personally like their policy positions.

          As a guide to what to do in present I would look towards:

          1. What Democrats are finding successful at the state level (besides just waiting for demographic shifts). Are any Democratic Governors / legislative majorities doing a particularly good job of either negotiating with Republicans, defeating their rhetoric, or growing the grassroots?

          2. What parties in other countries are finding successful now? Can it be adapted that to the American social/political situation?

          3. Keep trying new plans or evaluating what did or did not work about current attempts. Like Lincoln kept trying new generals until he found one who won or how designers keep constantly refining their designs. No design or plan works forever because the world keeps changing. Just because X worked for Clinton in the 1990s does not mean that X works today. Or something that stopped working could work again like the revival of small breweries after all but disappearing by the 1970s.

          4. Stop shaming people without college degrees. Only about a third of Americans have a college degree. Stop telling truck drivers they should have gone to college to expect a good job. One way Democrats completely suck is their endless college drum beating. Obama was particularly bad about that and it is one of the reasons he kept losing legislative allies.

          • MADCO says:

            The college thing is part of the overall "good jobs" challenge.

            Can we recreate an economy where reasonable HS accomplishment can routinely achieve financial security, home onwership, and a potentially stable life?
            We would have to want to.
            But even then – not a for sure thing.

            Or maybe HS + 1 or 2 solid, in demand vocational prep.


            I'm not sure that the there is a state model of accomplishment that works anymore.
            I think it used to be Big State D leader could play well in the national. But no one cares about governors now – at least not in the current nomination cycle – we had plenty to choose from. Ignored them all.



            • DavidThi808 says:

              Even 70 years ago we were comfortable saying you needed a High School diploma to get a good job.

              Now after we've transitioned to a knowledge based economy, 70 years later, it's not ok to say most people need an additional 2 – 4 years?

              • DENependent says:

                And 70 years ago that was bullshit. People working assembly lines had skilled jobs that did not require HS diplomas. In 1950 only 35% of white Americans had a HS diploma. My grandfather did not have a HS diploma despite being a very smart guy who loved to read. He had initially wanted to become a blacksmith and by the 1940s was a truck driver. He worked hard, saved his money, invested and did very well for himself without a diploma. You might call him unskilled and people certainly dismiss truck drivers today, but he was very skilled at what he did and had a good union. He bought a house in Park Hill and left his wife $400,000 when he died in the 1980s plus Social Security. He had a great life because the system was not rigged to cut people out of the American dream.

                Addendum: Not rigged against poor white guys. I’m sure there were a lot of Hispanics and blacks who were not as lucky as my grandfather back in the 1940s. Not able to get in on the contracts during the war or to get a good union job after. Opportunities were more unevenly distributed back then.

                • DavidThi808 says:

                  Ok, fair point on that. But it was strongly reccommended post WWII. And the GI Bill was designed around the idea that College was very helpful even back then.

                  I think it's good to raise the suggestion level a bit more now.

                  • DENependent says:

                    Educated Fools Why Democratic leaders still misunderstand the politics of social class

                    Here’s a little thought experiment: What would happen if, by a snap of the fingers, white racism in America were to disappear? It might be that the black and Latino working class would be voting for Trump, too. Then we Democrats would have no chance in 2020. We often tell ourselves: “Oh, we lost just the white working class because of race.” But the truth might be something closer to this: “It’s only because of race that we have any part of the working class turning out for us at all.”

                  • notaskinnycook says:

                    What happened was that a lot of men went to university on the G.I. Bill, then got into management with their shiny new degrees. They were the ones who decided that anyone who didn't have as much education as they, weren't qualified for the jobs they managed. There are still a lot of jobs that don't require a degree, but often the hiring managers won't even give someone without one a chance.


    • MADCO says:

      Makes sense.
      Facty, reasonable, sense.

      Not really how most people vote.

    • kwtree says:

      Sanders was and is quite skilled at deal-making. If you don’t believe it, walk into a community health clinic. If its doors are open, thank Bernie Sanders. 

      Warren also is effective- the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, although kneecapped by Trump, was always her project, and she got it done.

      Save your attacks on “far-left politicians” for those who suck at governance.

      I’m backing Warren, but will be happy to vote for Sanders if he is the nominee.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Bohemian Ttumpublican Rhapsody . . .

    “Nothing really matters.
    Anyone can see.
    Nothing really matters.  
    Nothing really matters,
    to me.

    Any way the wind blows . . .”

    The U.S. Senate Embraces Trumpian Nihilism

    What set Murkowski’s statement apart is that she said her “no” vote on witnesses wasn’t because they weren’t necessary for the proceedings or wouldn’t be relevant to the case, but because their testimony wouldn’t matter. “I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” Murkowski said. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.”

    It’s hard to dispute that statement. But her assertion nonetheless reminds me of a GPS-navigation company’s ad in 2010 that told commuters, “You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.” It’s one thing to complain that there won’t be a fair trial in the Senate. It’s another thing to vote in favor of ensuring that there won’t be a fair trial in the Senate. But it’s really something to do both.

    It’s worth noting that the president’s lawyers offered their own reasons for why the Senate shouldn’t hear from additional witnesses, flawed and self-serving as they may be. They threatened to waste the Senate’s time with lengthy litigation over executive privilege and call a slough of their own witnesses to gum up the work. But wavering Republican senators didn’t cite those threats as a factor in their decision-making. They simply threw their hands up in exasperation and said nothing mattered. Say what you will about the tenets of Trumpism, but at least it’s an ethos.


    . . . I see the little silhouetto of a man Senate . . .


  4. itlduso says:

    I am flummoxed about how to cast my primary ballot which will be arriving soon.  Speaking with many others, I find I am not alone. 

    My (our) sole objective is to defeat Trump.  What is the best use of my ballot to help achieve that objective?  Previously, I have said that my heart is with Pete, but my head is with Amy.  This was based on a view that although I agree with virtually everything Pete says (like I felt about Obama so many years ago), I felt that Amy is more electable in the general election.  Pete's problems are obvious:  small, liberal college town mayor who has garnered no more than 10,000 votes; too young; and, gay.  Amy has many advantages: former prosecutor; two term senator who won in red counties; moderate; Midwest; reasonable age; woman (that can motivate Dem voters).  But, she's not very inspiring and her candidacy has not taken off.

    Here is what I'm thinking now.  I'm going to hold onto my ballot until the last moment, which will come right after the SC primary.  At that time, I will vote for whichever candidate appears to have the best chance of beating Trump.  Whichever candidate, that is, who is not named Sanders, Warren, or probably Buttigieg.  I am not going to vote for any of those three just because they've won in four small primary/caucus states.  Sanders and Warren's plans are too radical to win in a general election.  Warren's plans total $25 Trillion and Sanders' plans double that to $50 Trillion (see my post on Friday's Get More Smarter for a breakout of these costs).  They will require large tax increases on everyone.  The general electorate is not aware of this.  They will be informed (and misinformed) after the GOP launches its attacks.

    So, at the moment, I could be voting for Biden, Bloomberg, Klobuchar, etc.  I have never voted like this before, and of course, I will vigorously support whoever the Dem nominee is.  I just think this election is too important to risk nominating someone who will not win in November. 


    • DENependent says:

      Trust your instincts. Who, when you listen to them and watch their campaign organization, inspires YOU? You might not be in tune with everyone else, but you know who runs a campaign that makes you happy to be voting. Ignore the percentages and analysis because that sort of second guessing will lead you to bad candidates.

      Back in 2008 I was initially a supporter of John Edwards. Why? Because I based my thinking on him being from the south, white, moderate, and male and thus a “safe” choice to win the national electorate. WRONG. I was monstrously and terribly wrong. I am so glad that I was saved from my own second guessing of other people’s biases.

      Even if you or I are personally wrong, hopefully we will be saved by other people being right.

    • harrydoby says:

      My two thoughts are, first, we do need an inspirational campaigner to speak in terms that will resonate across many demographics and geographies, regardless of agenda (second coming of Obama).  Competent candidates that are basically grinders (like Hillary was) will have plenty of places in a Democratic President's administration.  Agendas are the first casualty of actually getting elected.

      Second, I like your idea of waiting until the last possible moment.  I want to weigh the first primary results, and as many polls as available up until Super Tuesday to see which candidate has best inspired a surge of support. 

      I'll probably drop my ballot off on Super Tuesday as a result.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        I agree that inspirational is key. Trump beat Clinton because he was inspirational and had a dream front & center. Clinton was just "I'll be very competent and here's 20 platform items."

        So my choices are Warren, Sanders, & Yang. They're the only ones that get people charged up. Safe, moderate, and no big ideas (Biden, Buttieg, Kloubachar) will lose to Trump.

        • harrydoby says:

          Well David, I'm not actually looking for another demagogue like Trump.  I want a positive vision and message.

          But I'm not as pessimistic as you in thinking Biden, Buttigieg or Klobuchar would necessarily lose (see Dio's signage above).  BTW, it seems the biggest challenge some candidates face are pronouncing and spelling their names 😉

          • DavidThi808 says:

            Not a demagogue but someone who has a clearly articulated dream. Someone who makes it clear that they're in it to make our lives better in a profoundly different way.

            "I'm a grownup" is no where near as inspiring as "the system is designed to take from you and give the the 0.01% and I'm going to turn that around."

            • Diogenesdemar says:

              “I have a vision of an America where the people matter most, and an America which does everything it can to ensure that American government, and those in government, do all they can to allow the people of America to have their voice, and have it heard,” . . .

              . . . perhaps?

              Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, “and a flying car in every pot by the year 2025!” . . .

              Seriously. As far as I can see, the American “vision thing” has been pretty clearly articulated for over a couple of centuries, now. We could really use, and what we most need, are some candidates, and I believe people would respond favorably to those candidates, who did some real work to acting like it.

              We don’t need “Bernie’s vision,” or “Amy’s vision,” or “Mike’s vision,” we need a Bernie, or an Amy, or a Mike, who understand our vision. Really. Don’t you think?

    • The realist says:

      As a long time voter, I rarely vote based on a candidate’s proposed “plans.” They tend to disappear into the ozone layer soon after the election. Instead, look at a candidate’s track record – what have they advocated for, what have they accomplished, do they demonstrate good judgment, can they negotiate across the partisan divide, etc. The past is the best predictor of the future. I focus on both Klobuchar and Warren for those reasons.

      And Republicans, Trump is a corrupt destroyer, bent on destroying government, poor people, health care, the environment, you name it. Some conservatives may believe for a moment that destroying government is a good thing. It is not. If nothing else you need a well-functioning government for national security, for protection against enemies foreign and domestic. Right now we don’t even have a functioning arm of government to protect us against a pandemic.


      • Voyageur says:

        What realist said.  Campaign proposals are drafted by 20-yearold interns in all-night pizza sessions.  Records foretell the future.


      • ParkHill says:

        This is good: "What they have accomplished." That is, which candidates have demonstrated results.

        I also agree that while the "plans" are useful for inspirational purposes, the actual legislative results will come from the Democratic Party as a whole, not right or left wing. 

        The worst possible mistake would be to believe you could work with Republicans.

        The second worst possible mistake would be to vote for a billionaire.

      • Duke Cox says:

        To be sure. Your look at it parallels mine. 

        The Orange Destruction is the personification of disaster capitalism. Those who read Kleins’ book, “the Shock Doctrine” are not surprised by the current state of affairs. She predicted a move toward totalitarianism. Increasing wealth disparity. The decay of institutions.

        T***p is a mutant…whose power is complete self possession. 

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Well put, itlduso. I'm going to wait until just before the CO primary. Some of these candidates may drop out before then anyway.

      My favorite is Amy, but unless she wins one of the 3 tickets out of Iowa, she will probably drop out after NH. I would love to see Mayor Pete become President Pete but he will never get the turnout needed from older African-Americans to win the general election.

      So I may end up having to decide between Biden and Bloomberg. I'm not too thrilled about that but whoever said that life is always going to be thrilling.

    • MADCO says:

      I'm not sure anyone knows what electable looks like now.

      I agree that someone needs to excite the voters. Past that…. who is the "most electable" D?

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    Can I put in a plug for people to consider administrative experience?  Obama was a wonderful orator, a fine politician, able to resonate with a wide range of people.  He's a winner —

    However, he then appointed Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff.  Huffpost article summed up things this way

    Obama turned to a fellow Chicago politician with a far different style from his own, a man known for his bluntness as well as his single-minded determination.

    House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio called Emanuel “an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.”

    That began a rapid rotation:  "Rahm Emmanuel, Bill Daley and Jack Lew each served as chief of staff for Obama, between 2009 and 2013, before Denis McDonough stepped into the role." There was also an acting chief for months between Emmanuel and Daley.

    The turnovers rippled through the Administration and undercut consistency of effort.

    Administrative competence, understanding the importance of creating and maintaining a culture — however you want to look at it or name it, matter a great deal.  Looking at the campaigns, you can get a sense of how each candidate manages a large, complex organization built on the fly. Who is recruited in, how the placements are made, what the balance of group consistency and individual initiative will be, and (perhaps most important, in my mind), how someone deals with dissent and counterargument.

  6. Duke Cox says:

    I hope the nation will join me in providing the Orange Destruction with the lowest ratings ever for a SOTU speech. We already know what we are going to hear.., and we will definitely hear it all again and again.

    I think I will sleep better Tues night if I find another activity.

  7. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Gents: unless you have some sort of Nielsen or Arbitron rating thing on your TV or device, it doesn’t matter if you watch the SOTU or not.

    • Duke Cox says:

      You don't get it. I am not going to watch BECAUSE I find the Illegitimate President to be nauseating in his delivery. I expect NOTHING NEW. On the off chance that something interesting is said, I will see it on Wednesday. 

      It is a measure of your "conservative" smugness that you feel you need to tell us about Nielsen and Arbitron. You apparently missed the part where I mentioned hoping "the nation" would join me. One might assume that if it did, the ratings services would notice.


  8. Pseudonymous says:


    John Kerry overheard discussing possible 2020 bid amid concern of 'Sanders taking down the Democratic Party'

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry — one of Joe Biden's highest-profile endorsers — was overheard Sunday on the phone at a Des Moines hotel explaining what he would have to do to enter the presidential race amid "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole."

    Sitting in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Savery hotel, Kerry was overheard by an NBC News analyst saying "maybe I'm f—ing deluding myself here" and explaining that in order to run, he'd have to step down from the board of Bank of America and give up his ability to make paid speeches. Kerry said donors like venture capitalist Doug Hickey would have to "raise a couple of million," adding that such donors "now have the reality of Bernie."

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